Eastman names German professor of composition

Eastman names German professor of composition


norman lebrecht

April 22, 2015

Oliver Schneller will also be director of the Computer Music Center at Eastman School of Music.

oliver schneller


April 22, 2015   


Composer Oliver Schneller Appointed to Faculty of Eastman School of Music


Oliver Schneller, who has directed and curated festivals and collaborative arts projects over the course of his wide-ranging career, has been named Professor of Composition and Director of the Eastman Computer Music Center at the Eastman School of Music. 


Born in Germany, Schneller grew up in Africa, Europe, and Asia and studied in Germany and the United States, and his works reflect his interest in all aspects of interculturality in music. He is the recipient of such prestigious honors as Harvard University’s Paul Fromm Award, the Tanglewood Music Center’s Benjamin Britten Memorial Fellowship, the Rome Prize Fellowship, the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation’s Composers’ Prize, and more.


“We are delighted that Oliver Schneller will join our composition faculty and look forward to a new and exciting chapter for the Eastman Computer Music Center under his stewardship,” said Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, chair of the composition department. “Oliver is an erudite and versatile composer whose music combines elegance and clockwork precision with expressive depth.  He is a true global composer, with interests that include the music of Europe, Japan, and the Middle East, as well as inter-arts work and new technologies.  He is also a gifted and inspiring teacher and mentor, and has spearheaded a number of innovative projects for new music in the United States, Germany, Japan, and elsewhere.”


As a saxophonist, Schneller has performed with ensembles such as the George Russell Big Band, the Gustav Mahler Youth Symphony under Seiji Ozawa, and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra as a soloist in Tan Dun’s Red Forecast. He also has worked with various jazz and improvisations ensembles in Cologne, Paris, Amsterdam, Boston, and New York.


Schneller earned degrees at the University of Bonn and the New England Conservatory of Music, as well as the Doctor in Musical Arts degree in composition from Columbia University.


  • John Borstlap says:

    Poor students…. the same conventional stuff – the new aesthetics of half a century old:


  • Martin Locher says:

    I hope we won’t teach them to write music like this. As I see in the Youtube comments Mr. Borstlap will agree, despite he didn’t press the “dislike” button – I did.


    • rloomis says:

      Well, I enjoyed it.

      Also, just because a teacher of composition’s own music fits a certain aesthetic, that does not at all mean that his/her students will write in the same style. Mr. Schneller studied at New England Conservatory; take a listen to some music by the late Lee Hyla, who taught there, and then listen to music of composers who studied with him — or just read about what some of them are doing. Hyla’s music is definitely modern, often dissonant, frequently aggressive; one of his former students writes for musical theater. And there are many other former students of Hyla’s who write in all kinds of styles in between. As another example, look at the many prominent composers who studied with George Crumb. I don’t think anyone would confuse Crumb’s music with that of Jennifer Higdon, one of his well-known former students…